1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Prayer – The “Oxygen” for the New Creature in Christ.

 

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“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense.” Psalm 141:2

This is the same thought elsewhere expressed in the Bible—that the prayers of God’s people rise up before him as a sweet perfume (Revelation 5:8).

The incense of old, which typified the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3), was composed of a rare mixture of spices, giving forth a peculiarly sweet odor and nobody was allowed to make that incense except the priests who were to offer it (Exodus 30:34-38; 37:29).

Aaron, brother of Moses and the first High Priest of Israel

Thus again the Lord shows us that the privilege of prayer, of approaching him in an acceptable manner, and praying directly to the Heavenly Father through Christ, is confined to the anti-typical priests, called by Apostle Peter the “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).

“Only those of the Lord’s people who have consecrated their lives to him, even unto death, are thus represented as members of the sacrificing priesthood, to whom the Apostle wrote, saying, ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and your reasonable service’ (Romans 12:1). The Lord has pledged to this particular class that he will hear them… he will answer them—not necessarily according to their natural preferences, but he will heed the spirit of their cry and give to them, according to his wisdom, the experiences and blessings most helpful” (R5692).

Luke 18:1 reads “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

Prayer is the attempt to gain access to the presence of God, and to hold communion with him, and thus, prayer prepares the way for divine blessing and superlative joys (Volume 6, Studies in the Scriptures, p. 679).

“In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore,” declares the prophet (Psalm 16:11).

We must not grow disheartened and discouraged because of the delay in the answer to our prayers.

“Consider Jesus lest ye be weary and faint in your minds,” “for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Hebrew 12:3; Galatians 6:9).

The Motive Behind our Prayers

The Apostle James speaks of some who offer improper petitions. He says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:3).

The word lusts here signifies desires.

“We are not to ask to gratify fleshly desires. An example of this, could be praying to the Heavenly Father to send us a million dollars, telling Him that we knew what to do with the money, and how to use it in His work. The Lord probably would not give it—for we would probably be asking amiss. But it might be that we would think that we were asking wisely.

“Whenever we ask anything from the Lord, we should scrutinize our motives to see if there is any personality connected with the matter. In our own case we should ask ourselves: Do we want that million dollars in order that we may shine in the use of it? If so, such a prayer would be a grossly improper prayer. We might offer such a prayer at the beginning of our Christian experience, and the Father would not chide us for it. We would excuse a child for doing what we would not excuse in one of adult years.

“In respect to this matter of prayer our Lord gives us a cue. It is this:

“If ye abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ye may ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

“For God’s Word to abide in us implies that we have a knowledge of God’s Word. This necessitates the studying of the Word of God, that we may know what to pray for… We should consider what the Word of God teaches on this subject, and if any one has become well acquainted with the Word of God, he should know whether or not he has met the conditions which will sanctify his prayer. It is only after he has come to this position that he may continue to make his request, nothing doubting. But very likely he will then find that he has not a very large list of petitions that he can present” (R5311).

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The New Creature’s Greatest Need

In order to pray properly, the child of God should know what he may pray for. The things that the heavenly Father is pleased to give to his children are heavenly things.

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“The new creature is on trial for the new nature—for glory, honor, immortality. And he can receive these only as he is worthy. The terms on which he is received into spiritual relationship with the Father are that he shall mortify, deaden, the earthly impulses and seek to have the spiritual impulses quickened (R5311).

With persistence in our petitions to God we will know what is proper to pray for by studying the words of Jesus and the apostles and the prophets of old. The spirit-begotten ones may thus understand what are the rights and privileges of sons of God. To these the Heavenly Father is more willing to give the holy Spirit than earthly parents are willing to give good gifts to their children (Matthew 7:11).

“The holy Spirit is the one thing which the new creature needs” (R.5310).

Thus, the most important thing that the New Creature in Christ is to pray for, is for the holy Spiritthe spirit of holiness, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Truth, the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of love. The Master’s words are, “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good (earthly) gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

God is particularly willing to give us the holy Spirit, and especially pleased that we ask for it.

This does not mean that earthly interests will be ignored, since our Heavenly Father knows perfectly what things of an earthly character we have need of, just as He knows what we have need of for our spiritual welfare (R5311).

The child of God should feel that it is a privilege to have the Lord’s approval of every thought, every act, and every word (R5310).

“What we do is God’s work, not ours… Today the Lord may be leading us by the still waters and in green pastures… Tomorrow the pathway may be thorny and through rough places. Thus day by day we grow in knowledge and grow in love, and we should be ready for whatever experiences may come to us: ‘Content whatever lot I see, Since ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me’ ” (R5312).

The prayer of one who asks only in harmony with the Lord’s Word is certain to be answered.

“It is best not to use any set form of words in prayer, but merely to think in advance what you desire of the Spirit—more faith, more patience, more meekness, more love.

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Praying For Wisdom

In James 1:5, we are encouraged to pray for wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not.” 

By this wisdom we may be enabled to speak and act in a way that will be helpful to others.

“In order to have the holy Spirit in large measure, we must keep near to the Lord… The illumination of the Spirit will… become brighter in proportion to our realization of our own imperfections and to the degree of our consecration to the Lord. This we manifest by the zeal with which we study his will as expressed in his Word, and with which we practice that will in the affairs of life. These are the means by which we may supply the oil to keep our light burning brightly. But while we are endeavoring to do this, we must see to it that we do not come into contact with anything which will tend to extinguish the flame of sacred love in our hearts.

“The world, the flesh and the devil are all in opposition to the light of the holy Spirit. To whatever extent they are brought into contact with the light, to that extent they smother itt. We should ever be on our guard lest we allow anything to dim or to extinguish our love for the Lord, for the truth or for holiness and Christ- likeness” (R5129, R5130).

What else should be prayed for and what are the effects of this?

Here are suggestions of what we are to pray for.

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Our affections must be upon the spiritual food—upon the bread which came down from heaven and upon all the precious promises of God of which Christ is the center and substance. These we must seek, these we must appropriate; and for these, therefore, the substance of our prayers will be. Thus our watching, praying and daily seeking will be in full accord. Moreover, thanksgiving must largely take the place of requests, from the time that we learn of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine provision, for both the New Creation and for our dear ones according to the flesh, and for all the families of the earth. What could we ask for more or better than God has already promised?

Daily breadBut is not this something for the flesh?  This is a necessity, and the Lord has warranted us in praying for our necessities.

“We are to use our judgment the best we may; yet we are not to trust to our own efforts alone, but to the Lord’s supervising care. If, therefore, the temporal supply be scant, we are to learn the lesson of frugality and care of what we have.

“We should learn very early in life not to be wasteful. When Jesus fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes, and then instructed his disciples to take up the remainder of these in their baskets, he illustrated his economy.

“We are to eat with thankfulness what we have, if it is merely bread and water, or potatoes and salt. There is nothing to indicate that we are to ask for pie or cake or ice-cream, but for the necessities. If in God’s providence He furnishes the necessities and withholds the luxuries, then we are to be satisfied, to be thankful (R5311).

Let us also ask ourselves daily: Did we waste anything today? Did we eat too much today—twice as much as we had need for? “If so, the Lord will probably teach you some lesson, and it will be for your good as a New Creature. But if you have used wisdom and economy, He will provide the things needful. As the Prophet says, “Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure” (R5311).

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Deliverance from the Evil One—which should lead us to see that there is an Evil One, and that we are not sufficient of ourselves to resist his attacks successfully. We need the Lord’s help at all times, and we need to pray continually and not to faint (R5311).

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Forgiveness of our trespasses daily—which are the result of our fleshly imperfections. “Our trespasses of the flesh today should be a great deal less than similar trespasses with us ten years ago or five years or even one year ago” (R5311).

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God’s Kingdom to come—By praying without doubting it, we are strengthening in our faith more and more.

“Let our affections be set on things above, and not on things beneath—upon the robe of Christ’s righteousness and our future glorious apparel, when we shall be like our Lord and see him as he is, rather than on earthly apparel” (R5311).

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Express thanks for Divine care and to request a continuance of the same.

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Prayer and praise should always go up to heaven arm in arm, like twin angels walking up Jacob’s ladder, or like kindred aspirations soaring up to the Most High” (Spurgeon).

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“The prayers recorded in the Bible are generally not lengthy. God accepts as our prayers all the good thoughts and sentiments of our minds, as well as those expressed by our tongues” (R5311).

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Pray for each otherIn relation to this point, “the Editor” in the Reprints (R2576) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, writes an encouraging comment in relation to a letter received from a Brother in Christ (i.e. Br. W. E. Vanamburgh from South Dakota, USA):

“We cannot express in words our deep appreciation of the love of the brethren so often expressed in their letters… We assure these dear brethren and all that their love is most heartily reciprocated. We love the brethren and take pleasure in laying down our life in their service. We are glad to know that you remember us and the Lord’s ‘harvest work,’ which he as been pleased to center here in Allegheny, in your prayers. If we may judge from the letters received, thousands of prayers ascend daily on our behalf. We cannot tell you how deeply we appreciate this: it keeps us humble as we remember our needs, and it strengthens us as we remember the Lord’s sufficiency and his willingness to pour out his blessings in answer to your prayers and ours.

These prayers and the divine power to which they are attached are to our hearts a bulwark against the many Satan-blinded foes who beset you and us continually because of our loyalty to the Lord and his Word.”

“The Scriptures not only encourage public and audible prayers amongst the Lord’s people, but point out, also, that he who prays should remember his audience in connection with his ministry, and perform the service so that he who hears may be able to say ‘Amen,’ whether audibly or in his heart” (1 Corinthians 14:13-17) (Volume 6, Studies in the Scriptures, page 688).

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Pray for the peace of Jerusalem“They shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6).

These words are as true of the Heavenly Jerusalem (government of peace) and her children of peace, as they are of the earthly Jerusalem—which now is, and is in bondage with her children (Galatians 4:25).

“But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26).

“Those who are praying the Lord’s blessing upon his cause are seeking to serve it and are proportionately blessed. Those who are indifferent to the welfare of Zion and the Lord’s cause now, are standing in a slippery place and are in great danger of falling” (R2071).

“The true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Worship “in spirit and in truth” does not apply simply to prayer, praise, supplication and thanks giving. It goes deeper than all these. It takes hold upon the affections, upon the heart, and hence signifies not an act of worship but rather a life of worshipa life in which, through the begetting of the spirit and the knowledge of the divine plan, the individual becomes so at-one with God and all the features of the plan of God that it is, in the words of our Lord, his meat and his drink to do the Father’s will. This is worship in spirit and in truth. It will find its expression… also in all the acts and words of life (R2071).

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Pray for God’s will to be done. 

“We are not to tell God what to do for we have no means of knowing what is His will in matters in general.

“Our Lord Jesus did not pray in a mandatory fashion. With his petitions, he said, “Not My will, but Thine, be done”—I have no will of my own; for I have given up my will and I desire to have Thy will done. This is a prayer of full submission. It did not mean that our Lord did not pray in faith, nor that he would not get what he desired. It meant that he desired to learn the Father’s will; and he learned that the Father willed that he should drink the cup of suffering to the very dregs” (R5203).

Results of Prayer

It is the privilege of the Lord’s people to ask in order that they may have fullness of joy and the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” rejoicing greatly in hope of the glorious things which the Father has in store for us and which the holy Spirit reveals through the Word.

“The joyful Christian is the thankful Christian. The thankful Christian is the one who is making the best use of his life. By reason of having exercised thankfulness of heart, he will be the better prepared for the kingdom” (R5203).

It is truly an enormous privilege to have access to the presence of God, entering by faith into the Most Holy.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Acknowledgment

Br. Charles T. Russell—The content of this post is derived from a combination of various Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Suggested Further Reading

The Privilege and Power of Prayer by Irwin Doran. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/pray_7.htm

Effectual Prayer by Francis Earl. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
Prayer – Effectual Prayer

Thanksgiving in our Hearts. Adapted, David Steindl-Rast. Beauties of the Truthhttp://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2003nov.pdf

Let This Cup Pass From Me by Jerry Leslie. Beauties of the Truth.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTAUG99.PDF

Hezekiah’s Song of Trust by Carl Hagensick, and Pray Without Ceasing by Peter the Damascene. The Beauties of the Truth. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTNOV04.pdf

What Is the Purpose and Intent of Prayer; What are its Privileges and Its Limits? BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/15/what-is-the-purpose-and-intent-of-prayer-what-are-its-privileges-and-its-limits/

The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength. BIBLE Students DAILY. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/20/nehemiah-810-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/

 

The URL for this post:https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/04/1-thessalonians-516-18-prayer-the-oxygen-for-the-new-creature-in-christ/

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Dead To The World – Hymns Of Dawn No. 192

Dead To The World – Hymns of Dawn No. 192

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11, ESV).

Lyrics

1.
Not to ourselves again,
Not to the flesh we live;
Not to the world henceforth shall we
Our strength, our being give.

2.
The time past of our lives,
Sufficeth to have wrought
The fleshly will, which only ill
Has to us ever brought.

3.
No truce with vanity,
Or this world’s idle show;
Lust of the flesh and eye, or pride
Of life, we shall not know.

4.
Dead to the world and all
Its gayety and pride
To its vain pomp and glory be
Forever crucified.

5.
When he who is our life
Appears to take the throne,
We, too, shall be revealed, and shine
In glory like his own.

6.
Shine as the sun shall we
In the bright kingdom then;
Our sky without a single cloud,
Ourselves without a stain.

7.
Like him we then shall be
Transformed and glorified;
For we shall see him as he is,
And in his light abide.

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased here:
The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/
The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Colossians 3  – Put On the New Self

Rotherham Translation:

(1) If, therefore, ye have been raised together with the Christ, the things on high, be seeking, where, the Christ, is—on the right hand of God, sitting; (2) The things on high, hold in esteem, not the things upon the earth: (3) For ye have died, and, your life, is hid, together with the Christ, in God,— (4) As soon as, the Christ, shall be made manifest—our life, then, ye also, together with him, shall be made manifest in glory;

(5) Make dead, therefore, your members that are on the earth—as regardeth fornication, impurity, passion, base coveting, and greed, the which, is idolatry,— (6) On account of which things cometh the anger of God,— (7) Wherein, ye also, walked, at one time, when ye were living in these things; (8) But, now, do, ye also, put them all away,—anger, wrath, baseness, defamation, shameful talk out of your mouth: (9) Be not guilty of falsehood one to another: having stript off the old man, together with his practices,

(10) And having put on the new—who is being moulded afresh unto personal knowledge, after the image of him that hath created him,— (11) Wherein there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, bond, free,—but, all things and in all, Christ: (12) Put on, therefore, as men chosen of God, holy and beloved, tender affections of compassion, graciousness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, (13) Bearing one with another, and in favour forgiving one another—if any, against any, have a complaint,—according as, the Lord, in favour forgave you, so also ye; (14) And, over all these things, love, which is a uniting-bond of completeness;

(15) And let, the peace of Christ, act as umpire in your hearts, unto which ye have been called in [one] body, and be thankful: (16) Let, the word of the Christ, dwell within you richly,—in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, with gratitude, raising song with your hearts unto God: (17) And whatsoever ye may be doing, in word, or in work, all things, [do] in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto the Divine Father through him:— (18) Ye wives! be submitting yourselves unto your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord; (19) Ye husbands! be loving your wives, and be not embittered against them;

(20) Ye children! be obedient unto your parents in all things, for, this, is, well pleasing, in the Lord; (21) Ye fathers! be not irritating your children, lest they be disheartened; (22) Ye servants! be obedient, in all things, unto them who, according to the flesh, are your masters,—not with eye-service, as man-pleasers, but with singleness of heart, revering the Lord,— (23) Whatsoever ye may be doing, from the soul, be working at it, as unto the Lord, and not unto men,- (24) Knowing that, from the Lord, ye shall duly receive the recompense of the inheritance,—unto the Lord Christ, are ye in service; (25) For, he that acteth unrighteously, shall get back what he had unrighteously done, and there is no respect of persons;

Acknowledgment & References

Bro. Charles Taze Russell

pastor-russell-in-his-study.jpg

Bro. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled ““Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

Hymns of Dawn.jpgOther References

Pastor Russell Blogspot: http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/
http://www.hymnary.org

Further Reading

Pastor Charles Russell founded the Bible Students movement not the Jehovah’s Witnesses:
http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/wp-content/uploads/Bible-Students-not-Jehovah-Witnesses2.pdf-final2.pdf

pastor-russell-founder-of-bible-students-not-jehovah's-witnesses

Did Russell Start The JWs?
http://rlctr.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/was-russell-founder-of-jws.html

Pastor Russell – Not the Founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
http://www.dawnbible.com/1940/4008-hl.htm

“Who We Are.” Bible Students Daily – https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/who-we-are/

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/09/26/dead-to-the-world-hymns-of-dawn-no-192/

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Abide, Sweet Spirit – Hymns of Dawn No. 1

Abide, Sweet Spirit – Hymns of Dawn No. 1

Lyrics

1.
Abide, sweet Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
With light and comfort from above;
Be thou our guardian, thou our guide;
O’er ev’ry thought and step preside.

2.
To us the light of truth display,
And make us know and choose thy way;
Plant holy fear in ev’ry heart,
That we from God may ne’er depart.

3.
Lead us in holiness, the road
Which we must keep to dwell with God;
Lead us in Christ, the living way;
Nor let us from his pastures stray.

4.
Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
To wait for thine appointed hour;
And fit us by thy grace to share
The triumphs of thy conq’ring pow’r.

Doxology
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him aloud with heart and voice,
And always in His Son rejoice.

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased here:

The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm
The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/

Acknowledgment & References

Bro. Charles Taze Russell

pastor-russell-in-his-study.jpg

Bro. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled ““Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

Hymns of Dawn.jpgFor Further Reading

Pastor Russell Blogspot: http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/

Pastor Charles Russell founded the Bible Students movement not the Jehovah’s Witnesses:
http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/wp-content/uploads/Bible-Students-not-Jehovah-Witnesses2.pdf-final2.pdf

pastor-russell-founder-of-bible-students-not-jehovah's-witnesses

Did Russell Start The JWs?
http://rlctr.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/was-russell-founder-of-jws.html

Pastor Russell – Not the Founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
http://www.dawnbible.com/1940/4008-hl.htm

“Who We Are.” Bible Students Daily – https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/who-we-are/

The URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/09/06/abide-sweet-spirit-hymns-of-dawn-no-1/

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Are You in the Little Flock?

Many called few chosen- 2.jpg

You can quote scriptures from the Apostle Paul, from James, from Isaiah and Malachi, but only when you hear the words of Jesus does it have power. I’m not saying there is no power in the others, but when Jesus speaks we listen! And this is what he says:

“Strive to enter in at the narrow gate, for many I say unto you will seek to enter in and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24)

Now there’s a companion text to that in Matthew 22:14:

Many are called, but few are chosen.”

This is a sobering kind of text. It shakes me up!

Are you one of the many called, or are you the one that’s not chosen?

Most of you are called, but will you be the one chosen? This is a powerful idea. It circumvents all the things in the scriptures—the Tabernacle and the shadows.

If I asked, what is the foremost question in your mind?  What is the question you want answered? If a call came in and God’s on the phone and He says I will answer any question as long as it’s one question, what question would you ask? Would it be whether the Levites are in the Great Company class? … What’s the question that burns in your mind?

Have I made it in the Little Flock?

The Apostle Paul even wanted the answer to this question. In 66 ad when he was martyred, the Apostle Paul said, I have made it!  Did God give him that answer? I don’t think so. I think he just had the confidence – I’ve done the job, I’ve executed the mission, I’ve done what the Lord wanted me to do. Can you say the same thing? Do you have that confidence?

Jesus said, Strive to enter in. Does the word “strive” mean relax, take your lounge? The word means “to vigorously apply oneself with great strenuous effort toward a goal or a mission.” “Strive” means to unceasingly reach for success, to battle, to fight.

What’s the opposition preventing you from making it?

Satan’s one. He doesn’t want you to make it, not because he has anything personally against you, but only because he knows that when the 144,000 is complete that’s the end of him!

The second opposition is our inherited imperfection. We are not born perfect. We’ve got a lot of imperfections, we’re in captivity, in slavery. It restrains us. Then we have the opposition of the government, from poor education, from poor relationships, opposition from poor health. All these weigh heavily on you and these restraints prevent us from striving, because striving means to struggle with these captivities, to fight these restraints.

Didn’t Jesus say that many will not be able to enter in? These are the words of Jesus.

Look around you – you’re not all going to make it! I’m sorry but I have to say it, and I’m saying it to myself because it burns within me.

I want to be in that Little Flock and I will do anything that’s necessary to do it.

Do you have that same determination, that same fight?

Striving is the process for releasing these captivities; it’s the path toward freedom from restrictions. Striving is the process of becoming better, the road to perfection. This is what the Holy Spirit does for us. It gives us the strength to rid the captivities, moving us toward being part of that divine family.

We’re not all going to make it!

Striving is the benchmark, and benchmark means a marked point of evaluation that indicates you’re doing what is expected. It is the standard model, a kind of touchstone. God sees your striving as a benchmark. God does not look at your imperfections, He knows you’re already imperfect, but He’s looking to see how you’re striving. Do you get it – striving to move ahead?

Remember what Jesus said:

Strive, strive, strive!

Many will not be able to do it.

  • We strive for knowledge, but how much knowledge is enough? You will never reach the ultimate knowledge but we strive to get as much knowledge as we can.
  • We strive for sacrifices, but how much sacrifice is enough? We don’t know how much. How much sacrifice does the Lord accept?
  • We strive for goodness, but how much goodness is enough?  We don’t know. Jesus said there’s only one that’s good and that’s God. You’re striving to be good when there’s only One that’s good, so how much goodness must we do to be acceptable?
  • We strive for services, but how much service is enough? We strive to do as many services as we can, but can we really be perfect? What is the answer if we cannot reach the absoluteness of these values?

It’s striving, acting and reacting strenuously to go as high with these values as we can. God sees the striving; that’s what He’s looking at.

If you’re not striving it means you feel you have arrived, but if you keep striving you are recognizing that you’re going towards where He wants you to be.

Time Is Running Out.

God’s time clock for those of the high calling will shortly shut down.

Don’t look at the high calling  and think it’s going to go on and on and on. It won’t!

It’s going to shut down one day.

There’s a spiritual urgency and we can no longer delay.

We can no longer defer what we must do while the door is still open. It may close next year or in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years but probably not beyond that.

What’s sobering about this kind of evaluation and appraisal is your destiny in a class where you will remain in that class eternally.

Do you understand that? Do you know what destiny means?

It means future living, the provenance of life, the inevitability. Whatever class you achieve – the divine class, the Great Company class, the human class, or the second-death class – whichever class you’re in you will be in that class not 100 years, 1000 years, 1,000,000 years, 100,000,000 years, No, for ever and ever and ever because we have no indication that there will be another change of nature.

NOW is the time for you to affect your destiny. Get to it! There is an urgency.

 Fight, and fight hard for your destiny.

Destiny is only a word but you know that it means forever.

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Don’t get fixed on earth!

Time is short and drawing to an end.

The lesson is that if you’re going to make your calling and election sure, you must get with it because the door to the high calling will not be shut until all who are called will have the opportunity to crystallise their characters and show themselves approved unto God. All the prophetic events, all the promises and all the due-time accomplishments will be completed – we’re not discounting them. Everything has to be done, but you’re the most delayed element in all of them. The rest of them the Lord God can change overnight.

There’s another issue here: the validation of God’s Plan. Do you want to help God with His Plan? Most of our prayers are Lord, help me, I’ve got this problem. Lord, we need this. Always me, me, me.

How many of us have ever said, Lord, what can I do to help you? How many have asked that question? I’ll give you the answer because the answer is intrinsic in the divine plan:

Make your calling and election SURE!

When you do that you validate His Plan because He called you to do that. If you don’t make it He will call someone else to replace you. When you make your calling and election sure, things will move more rapidly.

There will be no kingdom, no resurrection, no eternity, nothing will happen until that Little Flock is completed and they help God with His Plan. That’s YOU!

It’s frightening and sobering to think we are such an important part of God’s Plan. We must remember what’s happening: God is re-creating us. To create means to originate a new form, a new design. We were created once but it didn’t work out well, so we are being re-created. In our first creation you didn’t have a choice. We didn’t pick our parents or our genetic package, our style of imperfection. But here God is saying you now have choice. You can choose who you want to be in those ages of ages, you have choice. Jesus says, Strive to enter into the narrow gate for many will not be able to.

God is not trying to make us clones of Jesus even though we try to be like him. We can never be like him because Jesus was the Logos, he has a different genetics, he was the son of God, he was perfect – we cannot be exactly like him but we can have a likeness of him.

How Are We Like Jesus?

We’re like him in the way he lived, the principles he lived, those divine principles of God. Do you know what those principles are?

I want to share a few with you and light a fire under you.

1.Upgrade your consecration. Most of us are consecrated to a model we had years ago, and I’ll refer to that later.

2. Incorporate these divine principles into our re-creation. That’s how you have to think of yourself. You are changing your nature, you are going to be a divine being. That’s what Jesus meant when he said about John the Baptist that he was greater than any of the prophets. That’s quite an evaluation! Then he said, The least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. WOW!

That means you’re greater than Abraham, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Daniel and all these great prophets!

How are you greater than them? Not one of them was being changed into the divine being.

YOU are! That’s what the Lord Jesus meant.

You are going to acquire a kind of inheritance that no one has ever had, not even the angels who were not begotten but created.

Back to Point 1 : increasing our services. Upgrade your model of consecration: I hear it so often said that “if I follow the beatitudes I’ll make it.” Another will say, “if I can follow the fruits of the spirit and do a good job there I’ll be in the Little Flock.” These are notions of yesterday; the new consecration model is to recognise that there are many models in the Bible, not just one. The beatitudes is one, fruits of the spirit is two, John’s message to the churches is three, Peter’s Christian virtues is four, Moses’ tabernacle processes is five, James’ spiritual fruits is six, and Paul’s mark of the four quarters is seven. There are seven models. Which one do you want to fill?

I suggest you put them all together into a composite model, that is, statistically see how many of these various virtues are found in every one of them. I did that for you and found:

  1. The first is to love. That’s the big one.
  2. The second is to sacrifice, and that’s big too. It isn’t giving up a meal but sacrificing on behalf of other people.
  3. The third is to learn. Learning is not preparation for the Little Flock, it is part of it.
  4. The fourth is to be holy, sinless. Sinning is serious with God. He doesn’t want sinners in the holy family.
  5. The fifth is to serve, serving to reconcile.
  6. The sixth is to be zealous for God’s work
  7. The seventh is to be re-created and loyal to God Himself.

That’s the composite model. Let’s take a second suggestion: Re-examine and change your attitude about the divine nature.

When does the divine nature begin?

Most of you would say, at the resurrection. When Jesus was resurrected, was he resurrected to a spiritual nature and then later given the divine nature? Or was he resurrected with a divine nature?  I’m only saying that we have to address ourselves to divine nature because what does “nature” mean. I like the word “likeness”. We are like Jesus; we are like God, but we’re not God. How? We live like He does with the same principles. What are they?

  1. To love first: (John 3:16). In the 2 billion Christians in the world today, most practice a reaction love – I will love you if you love me. God doesn’t have that love. God practises a first love. GOD first initiates the love.
  1. Loving without reward: (Matthew 6:3).We’ve got to stop asking, What’s in it for me? Do something without getting any credit for it. That’s a hard thing to do – I want my name on that!
  1. Giving to others: (Luke 6:38). “Give” should be your middle name. Keep giving until it hurts. I sometimes wonder why the Lord wants us to be like that. It’s because the Lord is going to give you the divine power, a divine body. What are you going to do with that? Are you going to keep it to yourself? Oh, I’m a divine being! God doesn’t want that because God doesn’t like that way. He gives and you too must give when you become a divine being but you have to practise it now as a principle.
  1. Loving your enemy: Don’t take revenge if someone does an injustice to you. How many times among the brethren injustice has happened to us? Do you try to get even? We’re not going to invite them to our convention any more! That’s getting even. Don’t get even. Loving your enemy means for any injustice, not judging according to external appearances. If you can’t get along with people here on earth, brethren with the holy Spirit, what makes you think you’re going to get along with them up there?
  1. Upgrade your services: Our call to be re-created to the divine nature is also a call to service. Once we get into the Little Flock we’re not going to lie in a hammock and someone will bring us cold drinks!

It’s very simple:

The Lord has called you to go to work. There’s a big work.

It’s been estimated 20 billion has ever lived. Science says there have been 100 billion people since the Ice Age – that’s a lot of people. And we’ve heard the sort of things that have to be done. We have to reconcile a lot of people. That’s work! Just wait to see what has to be done. And the Lord says, Do it now!  This is the work of the Kingdom.

[NOTE: There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived. (According to the BBC News in 2012)]

Brethren in Christ,

Let us get with divine principles, as many as we can, incorporate them into our lifestyle, because we want to please God and be part of the Little Flock.

Make sure you don’t lose it!

I am going to be in that Little Flock if it kills me, and it may kill me, but at least I can say I tried.

I am going to fight, to struggle.

We know we’re not perfect and our failings have been numbered, but what is precious in God’s sight is our striving.

If you’re not striving, you’re not trying to get into the Little Flock.

The gift of grace from GOD is precious. USE every moment you got now in the service of the LORD, and get to work like never before with the mind FIXED… SUPERGLUED to Jesus, to bring GREATEST JOY to our Heavenly Father!

Amen.

Acknowledgment & reference:

Br. Paul Mali – his discourse.

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/03/are-you-in-the-little-flock/

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2 Corinthians 5:20 – What Does Being “Ambassadors for Christ” Mean ?

2 COR. 5, 20

What is an ambassador ?

According to Wikipedia, an ambassador is :

“an official envoy, especially a highest ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state, or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment… They are stationed in a foreign country and they as well as the embassy staff are granted diplomatic immunity and personal safety while living abroad.”

Apostle Paul made it clear to us that those who are accepted of God and begotten of the holy spirit are ambassadors of another country:

“For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, ASV).

“For he has delivered us out of the dominion of the darkness, and transplanted us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 11:13).

The Apostle Paul

Apostle Paul referred to himself as an “ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20). This is hardly the view we take of diplomatic ambassadors today. But Paul does not say this to elicit pity. Rather he tells the Church not to lose heart over what he is suffering because it is for the Church’s glory.

Truly Apostle Paul was a great ambassador!

Should we not also represent our head, Christ Jesus and SHINE like stars in the sky, being blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation”? (Philippians 2:15)

YES we MUST do so… not tomorrow… BUT NOWright NOW… the High Calling of the Gospel Age is soon to end and Christ’s Bride composed of 144,000 members, shall hath made herself ready!

Dear Brethren, we will not miss out for the chance of eternal eternities and forevermore to belong to the BODY of Christ… to be counted worthy of the prize of the High Calling… of bringing our Heavenly Father grandest JOY and who shall present the Bride as the most righteous gift to Christ!

Let us “trim our lamps” as the “wise virgins” (Matthew 25:7) and stay separate from this world (2 Corinthians 6:17); and be “peculiar people” renouncing the world and its evil desires!

“14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15).

Prepare yourselves through strict training and discipline to belong to the ONE BRIDEGROOM ONLYlet JESUS BE YOUR HEAD–SEEK him; SEARCH for him; COPY him; make him proud; REPRESENT him in spite of ALL RIDICULE and SUFFERING in this world.

“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV).

The Apostle Paul encourages us: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20, KJV).

Qualifications of an Ambassador

As ambassadors of Christ, how should we conduct ourselves? What is our role?
Let’s consider the following characteristics of an ideal ambassador:

  1. PATIENCE

An ambassador listens carefully to the citizens of the countries he is involved in helping to understand their needs and situation so that any conflicts or disagreements can be resolved in peace. The Apostle Paul was so patient through his experiences as a prisoner and in his dealings with rulers he sought to bring about mutual understanding concerning the Truth.

  1. WISDOM

An ambassador uses his knowledge of people to (as far as possible) resolve conflicts between any parties involved. We have an example of this by the Apostle Paul–when question by rulers and confronted by hostile Jews and Greeks, he used Godly wisdom to answer.

“Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial” (Acts 23:6, ESV).

  1. GRACIOUS SPEECH

As a spokesperson for his country, an ambassador is one who encourages and entreats with his words rather than causing any offence or hostility, as well as seeking the good of all. We see this in Apostle Paul’s conduct here:

“32Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33, KJV).

Apostle Peter explains: 11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12, KJV).

  1. GENEROUSAn ambassador will use his time and talents to help others, especially as it promotes the interests of his home government, even at personal sacrifice and we note how Apostle Paul laid down his life for kingdom interests  in Philippians 2:4:-

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  1. REASONABLENESS

An ambassador will try to help those in his host country and persuade them to appreciate the benefit of his counsel. Paul continually appealed to others to accept his counsel concerning Christ’s kingdom and the blessing it will be to all.

  1. HONESTY

An ambassador tells the truth and uses facts to persuade others. He neither deceives nor exaggerates to achieve his way. Paul was forthright, even on occasion calling the attention of Peter and others to what appeared to be a misleading example.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2:11-14, ESV).

  1. UNDER READINESS OF MIND

An ambassador is ever alert to represent and promote the interest of his government even at the risk of personal benefit or gain.

Apostle Paul did not let opportunities slip by him, to regret latter. He embraced his appointed service with diligence. As Jesus, “for the joy set before him” endured ALL manner of rebuff and persecution, so Apostle Paul followed the example of Jesus (1 Corinthians 4:11-13).

  1. HUMILITY

An ambassador recognizes that he has no personal authority apart from the country he represents. Further, as he provides instruction and direction, he explains the laws of his home country.

Though Apostle Paul was a leading light in the early church, he considered himself the “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9, Ephesians 3:8).

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:9).

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8, ESV).

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If we as Christians could keep these thoughts always prominent before our minds, what a dignity it would add to our character! What a transforming power it would be!

What an assistance to the new nature in its battle with the low and grovelling tendencies of the old nature now disowned by us and reckoned dead!

Dear friends, let us remember that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

While still living in the world, we are not of it but have transferred our allegiance and citizenship to the Kingdom. And now, as appointees of our Kingdom, while still living in the world among aliens and strangers, we as representatives and ambassadors should feel both the dignity and the honor of the position and the weighty responsibilities and keep in memory the Apostle’s words,

Whatsoever ye do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus(Colossians 3:23).

(Refer to Reprints of the Original Watch Tower page 3329 for a lovely article titled “Do All in the Name of the Lord Jesus.“)

We can learn by Apostle Paul’s wonderful example of ambassadorship and demonstrate, as he did, a ministry of reconciliation now.

Our Christ-like behavior in this world brings a certain amount of help and healing to a world that needs deliverance.

“A wicked messenger falleth into unhappiness; but a faithful ambassador bringeth healing
(Proverbs 13:17, Leeser).

This will prepare us well for the greater reconciliation of all mankind in which we will participate, no longer as ambassadors, but rather as kings and priests with Jesus.

What a hope is ours!

May we do ALL in our power to glorify our Heavenly Father Jehovah through Jesus Christ, GOD’s Son–in our bodies and our spirit which belong to our Head—Jesus CHRIST.

Reference:

Special thanks to Br. David Stein for source material from the article Paul the Ambassador“, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, August/September 2011.

 

The URL for this post is: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/20/2-corinthians-520-what-does-being-ambassadors-for-christ-mean/

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Philippians 4:8 -Whatsoever things are just…

“Whatsoever things are just,…think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

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We are not to allow our minds to run along lines that would be unjust, and we are to learn to apply this test of justice to every thought and word and act of ours, while learning at the same time to view the conduct of others from a different standpoint–so far as reason will permit, from the standpoint of mercy, forgiveness, pity, helpfulness. But we cannot be too careful how we criticize every thought we entertain, every plan we mature, that the lines of justice shall in no sense of the word be infringed by us with our hearts’ approval. Z.’03-9 R3129:3

What does the Bible mean by “a new heavens and new earth”?

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“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

What was the promise to which Peter refers?

Immediately, our minds might leap to the closing of Revelation:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1

The restless masses, pictured by the sea (Isaiah 57:20), will no longer find any place by the close of the little season.

These words from Revelation beautifully harmonize and amplify on the new heavens and the new earth. However, the book of Revelation could not have been what Peter had in mind, because Revelation was not yet given to the Apostle John while Peter was alive.

ISAIAH 65, THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH

We find this promise not once, but twice in the closing chapters of Isaiah:

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” (Isaiah 66:22)

To understand the context we need to start with Isaiah 65:8:

“Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.”

“Wine” is a picture of joyful doctrine. In this case, the cluster has not even been cut from the vine, let alone subjected to the careful process that will transform it into wine. Take firm hold of that picture—the Lord sees the blessing in the cluster still on the vine. All of the hopes for a new heaven and new earth begin with the promise to Abraham long before the promise can become a reality.

“In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17)

Isaiah’s allusion to a new heavens and a new earth corresponds to “the stars of heaven” and “the sands of the seashore.”

In Isaiah 65:8 there is a command not to destroy the grape cluster, picturing the joyful hopes of Israel. This threat of destruction may correspond to the troubles that befell Israel during the “Times of the Gentiles.”

At that time the typical monarchy through the line of David ceased, and the typical Jubilee system could no longer be observed. These ominous experiences could have marked the end of Israel’s hopes. And yet the experience with Gentile dominion did not extinguish Jewish religious hopes, represented in the grape clusters. “For my servants’ [Israel’s] sakes that I may not destroy them all [i.e. the clusters].” Israel’s hopes remained alive throughout the bitter experiences of the Diaspora.

Isaiah 65:9, “And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.”

There were 70 weeks determined upon the people that would bring them to Messiah, the seed of promise. The specific reference to an “inheritor” is important.

This word “inheritor” is H3423 yaw-rash. It suggests someone who has driven out the previous occupants and now possesses something. This a picture of our Lord taking possession of this world.

“Out of Judah” must surely be a reference to the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), who is our Lord. Additionally, there is a “mine elect class, the church, as contrasted with “servants,” natural Israel. So now we are in the transition period between the Jewish age and the Gospel Age with the first advent of Jesus. Because of the reference to “servants” in verse 8, this promise must include natural Israel and the Ancient Worthies who shall dwell in these mountains—note the plural. These are the servants who will dwell in the earthly kingdom, the mountains of this world. The elect, who came into the covenant with Messiah, share in the inheritance. This is reminiscent of our Lord’s words when he said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).

WARNING OF JUDGMENT

The Lord promises a blessing. Isaiah 65:10, “Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.”

However, in Isaiah 65:11-15, there comes a warning of judgment. This is a reference to the condition of the Jewish people after their time of favor has ended. The servants are those who have been transferred from the house of servants to the house of sons. They are the Jews of the first Advent who came into Christ. This concludes with the promise that the Lord would call his servants by another name. And so it was that they left the house of Moses and entered the house of Christ. During the mishneh, the 1845 years of disfavor for the Jewish polity, have the Lord’s servants been called by the names of “Israel” and “Judah?” No, they have not. As promised they have been called by other names;
“Christians” (Acts 11:26), “the little flock,” “the church of the firstborn,” “the bride of Christ.”

SOMETHING SWORN

“Curse” (H7631), or “something sworn,” seems such an inappropriate word and yet the text is rendered “curse” in both the Soncino and the Jewish Publication Society translations: “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto Mine elect: ‘So may the Lord GOD slay thee;’ but He shall call His servants by another name.”

We have been called unto Peace, we have not been called to utter oaths, particularly strong oaths such as; “So may the Lord GOD slay thee.”

However, the reference here is not to those who are yet waiting for Messiah hampered by “blindness in part,” but to those in verse 11 “who have prepared a table for the troop.”

This phrase is difficult to understand because it refers to those who forsook the Lord and trusted to the fortune of the stars in their cultic worship of the Babylonian deity of good fortune called “Gad.” In verse 11 of our text the name “Gad” is translated “troop” and the
reference to Babylonian worship was not clear to the King James translators.

So for this unhappy class, their faith rested in other gods who would give them good fortune and serve as their defense. “Troop” does indeed deserve this severe judgment. It is the LORD who delivers the sentence.

THE GOD OF AMEN

Now the favor returns.

“So that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.” (Isaiah 65:16)

ALL mankind will come into these promises made to father Abraham and be blessed indeed. It would appear that this verse especially applies to Gentiles, for they are not using the name “Jehovah” which has special promise for natural Israel.

In the entire Bible, this phrase, “the God of Truth” is only used here. Some commentaries suggest that leaving it untranslated might give us a better sense, “the God of Amen.” Strong’s defines “amen” as “sure; abstractly faithfulness; adverbially truly.” These definitions convey the sense that He is a God whose promises will surely come to pass, a God who is faithful.

We finally reach the text that the Apostle Peter quotes. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (Isaiah 65:17-18)

This is a special promise of restoration for natural Israel, the seed of Abraham after the flesh.

“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” (Isaiah 65:19-20)

We are assured that in the New Heavens and the New Earth, we will not see children perishing in infancy, nor even a sinner perishing who has not had an extended and fair trial to reform and set his feet on the “Highway to Holiness” spoken of in Isaiah 35, “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

HIGHWAY NOT A NARROW WAY

Because God cares, He did not abandon the world of mankind in a hopeless condition. He did not allow death to be the final condition of suffering man. He provided a “ransom,” the basis of the only true hope for a world in despair. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” (Hosea 13:14)

But there is an apparent contradiction respecting the Highway of Holiness in Isaiah 35, for how can someone “return” who was never originally “in” Zion?

Isaiah 35:10 cannot be referring to the church of the firstborn, for they are not on this Highway of Holiness although they are intimately associated with it. This is a Highway, it is not a Narrow way. This Highway is for the “weak” (Isaiah 35:3), it is for the “feeble” (Isaiah 35:5), and it is even for the “foolish” (Isaiah 35:8). In spite of all these failings the travelers will not remain “unclean.” Isaiah 35 must refer to a consecration to righteousness for mankind in the kingdom.

We would like to think that the pouring out of the holy Spirit on all flesh would eliminate these problems of weakness, enfeeblement, and foolishness, but in reality that is not the case. How can we say this? It is because the New Creation has the first-fruits of the spirit even now and they have to work with all these problems.

The use of the word “return” becomes clearer when we recognize that sin and alienation from God are an unnatural state. Harmony and At-one-ment with God is the natural state. It is the state that our first parents enjoyed in Eden. This return from the lost and perishing condition is to Zion, the holy city where our Heavenly Father eagerly awaits. The travelers come with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. It is this portion that God has elected to give to the human race, and what a glorious portion!

CREATION TO BE DELIVERED

Our Lord’s shed blood, spilled upon the earth, bought all the lower creation as well as the church and the World of Mankind. In the following passage from Romans, we will consistently use “creation” for the Greek ktisis (G2937).

“The earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption,to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:19-23)

We call to mind that the earth was “made to be inhabited.” The Edenic paradise shall be restored—surely this is part of the “return” mentioned by Isaiah. The Strong’s definition includes the thought of “returning to the starting point.” So, mankind will return to where our race first began — human perfection in a paradise home. “The desert shall blossom as the rose;” and both the plant and animal creation will be restored to their proper balance; nature with all its pleasing variety will call to man from every direction to seek and know the glory and power and love of God; and mind and heart will rejoice in Him.

Though Isaiah 35 promises the New Earth a Highway, walking on this road will still take effort. There will be cheer and encouragement along the route from the New Heavens, for the church has shared mankind’s sorrow. As the goal, Zion, is reached, there will singing and shouts of praise. The Hebrew word for “songs” (H7440) actually suggests that the voices will be a little shrill with a joy that naturally spills over into song. They will have “everlasting joy upon their heads.”

Not only does this suggest joy in the heart but this is a different sort of joy.

This joy is built upon a foundation of UNDERSTANDING. It is a joy that blends with song and with GRATITUDE to God for all His leadings.

PROMISES TO THE NEW EARTH

In this “new earth” Isaiah 65:21-25 promises that resurrected mankind will not only enjoy the soul-satisfying labor of their hands, but a restored fellowship with God.

“It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.”

It will take an eternity to know our Heavenly Father, but the unassailable principle which the Bible enunciates with clear and definite voice is that life goes on; life is endless.

Acknowledgement:

Source content used from Feb. 2016 issue of “The Beauties of the Truth,” http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org

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